Thursday, March 08, 2007

Third Reason for Monitoring Blogs for Public Relations

Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk"

The third reason in public relations to monitor blogs is to know what online conversations are related to your industry or company. In media relations, you probably report media coverage and group it by the event or whatever that started a set of coverage. But it pretty much stops there.

In this new world of social media, the number of blog posts is pretty trivial. It’s all about the conversation.

So when you are monitoring by post and tag searches and find relevant results, don’t think of them as a stream of unconnected mentions. Keep an eye on things like: the volume and content of comments, the links included in the post and the trackbacks (inbound links), and blog posts that mention other related blog posts. Go and track those links. Notice the direction of each conversation.

Then, you’ll need to decide when and how to join in the conversation. You can add comments to blog posts of the more influential bloggers. But do so judiciously. Do not try to sell something (even an idea). Be open about who you represent (this is really, really, really important). Express gratitude. Offer information. Gently provide corrections to errors.

Joining the conversation is important, but as a public relations professional, you have a special responsibility in how you go about it.


Rob La Gesse said...

Nice article (and series of articles). I agree with most of your points - with one significant exception.

I don't think commenting on the most influential blogger's sites is really the best way to go. Those bloggers generally get so many comments that they don't have the attention span to appreciate your post. It's lost in the fog.

Instead I would leave comments on many of the "non-influential" blogs - that's where you have the best chance of starting a conversation. And if you start a conversation, it'll eventually get linked to. And again, and then the next conversation.

As a commentor you also need to build a reputation for having "relevance" - and that comes only through joining the conversation, and through trial and error.

But don't forget the small blogger - especially if they have a very focused topic. They carry a lot of weight. There are over 70 million blogs last I read. Very few of them are so well known that people know the URL for them. But Google and Microsoft index all of them. Even the tiny ones.

R Srikanth Rao said...

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Christie Goodman, APR said...

Excellent point. I think you are spot on. In my own monitoring for my organization, I've noticed that hardly any of the blogs have any comments at all. But they are important to me. I should have reflected that in my own post. Thanks for your comment!